The country is witnessing revelations about corruption, embezzlement, and violations by state officials. Do you think that the press has exposed these negative phenomena to the fullest?
I would say that, based on official assessments by the state, ministries and international organisations, Vietnam’s economy is bouncing back strongly with positive growth. Generally speaking, the economy remains stable, with some key sectors flourishing.
However, the economy has been facing difficulties, including some serious scandals with implications of vested interests, corruption, and wastefulness. Many cases have been brought to the court or are under investigation.
This is a strong message from the Party and the state being “strongly resolved to re-affirm order and discipline in all socio-economic activities and sectors, including a focus on preventing and combating corruption and wastefulness”.
Under the guidance of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, some big cases have been going to trial in the spirit of respecting the law. This spirit is strengthening the confidence of the public. Anyone that shows even a hint of a violation will be inspected and all violators will be punished without leniency.
In the past, there were also many scandals concerning corruption and wastefulness involving big state-owned enterprises such as Vinashin and Vinalines. The fight against corruption and wastefulness is gaining momentum, with no mercy for any violations by individuals, enterprises, or organisations.
I would say that the press has been truly and objectively reflecting all corners of the country’s economy and society. It has played a major role in preventing and combating corruption, and this role is irreplaceable.
However, there have been some journalists who are irresponsible with their job. They have been working not for the benefit of the state, people, and the community, but rather, they have broken the law to benefit only themselves.
The government is now doing its utmost to establish a more business-friendly climate. Do you think that journalists are well-balanced in conveying both negative and positive information about this?
In 2016 and especially in 2017, the government has highlighted its strong message that the best conditions will be provided to enterprises and investors to turn Vietnam into “a startup nation with a more enabling government”. This message has inspired enterprises and investors and accordingly served as a strong new impetus for the economy as a whole.
The press has also captured these efforts and helped the government to convey its policies to the public and enterprises. Overall, journalists have had fewer articles that were pessimistic about the economy.
Some media outlets that used to largely focus on negative information have even increased their positive coverage of the economy. I think that their new way of thinking is quite responsible; it can make the audience more upbeat about the economy. In fact, the economy is strongly developing, boosted by a great deal of foreign investment and increased exports.
As you know, social media is expanding in a powerful way. What should traditional media agencies do to compete with social media, while making sure to offer true and objective information and attract a larger audience?
We are living amid strong digital development, with rapidly-growing social media. We cannot deny the positive effects of social media, but they also contain ungrounded and fake information, which is harmful to the whole society. Many netizens remain uneducated and do not take responsibility for their actions online.
In this situation, journalists have to take responsibility by publishing exact and objective information in order to direct the public. Journalists must show their skills, knowledge, ethics, and social responsibility in their articles. They can also participate in social networks like Facebook to convey accurate and objective information.
However, in social networks, journalists must be sensible because they can be confused and misdirected by the various types of unsubstantiated information making its rounds on the web. Before writing about any issue, journalists must check their information thoroughly.
However, the press is not only faced with fiercer competition from social media, it will also be hit by other digital rivals. This requires journalists to continue training themselves and taking more responsibility.
Vietnam Investment Review (VIR) has been operating for 26 years. As a leader of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association, what do you think should be done for VIR to go further?
VIR is quite a reliable newspaper for economic experts, policy makers, investors and enterprises.
Those interested in economic issues can find all necessary information in VIR, with in-depth and objective analysis. I see that VIR has been consistently reinventing itself with continuous improvements in quality.
Like many other readers, I am waiting for VIR to publish more good articles about unresolved economic issues, including delayed projects and corruption, and the government’s proposed solutions to these issues.
May VIR continue to enjoy more success and prosperity!